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isky1843 02-03-2011 01:05 PM

Well I made up my mind on the fate of my newly aquired 55 1/2 ton. Gonna build a gasser! I have done the straight tube axle on a 55 chevy car but not a truck. I was thinking about the possibility of flipping the stock axle top to bottom for the lift, and then rotate 180* to point the steering linkage to the back. I figure it will definately take some creativity to make the steering work properly but does anybody see something wrong with this that I am overlooking?

68NovaSS 02-03-2011 03:36 PM

Hmm, might help if you could post a clear picture of that front suspension?

aosborn 02-03-2011 09:09 PM

If you turn the axle around, the ackerman angle will be reversed.

OneMoreTime 02-03-2011 10:34 PM

Just have the springs re-arched...the 4x4 guys do this a lot..that will raise it up..


ericnova72 02-04-2011 01:03 AM

Swapping the axle 180 is also going to really screw up the caster, you want about 4-6 positive and you are going to have about 4 negative. Going to be really twitchy on the road.

57halfton 02-04-2011 08:07 AM

The axle should already be under the stock leaf springs. If you want to jack it up just put blocks between the axle and the springs along with longer U bolts.

1971BB427 02-04-2011 04:32 PM

I'd definitely go with rearched springs. Blocks are cheaper, but they also make the mounting weaker. The thicker the blocks, the more a bump will transfer stress on the U bolts.
Remember also that as you go higher the steering rod from the box will change angle and the steeper it goes the more bump steer you'll develope. This could create a dangerous situation if you hit a good bump and it turns the wheels one direction or the other.
I just can't envision a '55 truck as a gasser style vehicle personally.

isky1843 02-07-2011 08:14 AM

Great stuff guys. I have thought about blocks and rearching springs and just don't like the way it looks. Think I'm just gonna build a straight axle. Now the next half baked idea! Rolling around the possibility of building a straight axle out of the stocker. Mabey cut it where it turns down, inboard of the spindles, and weld in a straight piece. I would like to keep the original hubs and drum brakes and this is the only way I see to do this. The axle is forged steel which welds very nice if done right, but does anyone know if they are heat treated or hardened? And before anyone says it, yes, I like to do it the hard way! When asked about a feature on my vehicles, I get the utmost satisfaction out of saying, " I built that" than saying, " I bought" or " I had that built". I'm sure you guys know what I mean.

57halfton 02-07-2011 08:33 AM

I don't think that idea is even half baked. If this is what you got to do get a heavy wall straight tube axle with Chevy ends that will take 49 to 54 Chevy or 53 to 62 Corvette spindles , hubs and brakes with 5 lug.

isky1843 02-07-2011 12:55 PM

Well baker I am not. Determined..... guilty as charged! It will take alot of fab work but I think it can be done. I have seen way crazier stuff work, for instance, heating a front axle and bending it to get more or less drop. Seen it done several times. Not to say I would do something like that, but it worked for those fellows. There was a time when you couldn't just open a catalog and order stuff like this, yet people found a way to make it happen which is the route I prefer to take. Now, does anybody know what types of heat treating or hardening these axles got at the factory?

cobalt327 02-07-2011 03:24 PM

Without knowing what the steel alloy is, it's hard to guess at the exact properties. I believe it's a safe bet that the axle received a stress relieving after forging. I don't see hardening as being necessary, might even be detrimental for the application- but this is a guess on my part.

Generally speaking, the axles like you're talking about were over-built to the point that it would take a lot of abuse to render one useless or broken- but that's NOT to say proper welding techniques and materials can be ignored, obviously.

I believe that as long as you're not cutting then rejoining the axle back together, or heating red hot to bend it, or chrome plating it, and you're limiting things to welding perches, etc. onto the axle, you'd be OK.

Otherwise, I -personally- would opt to spend some money rather than chancing it. And I am in no way inclined to spend money unless I feel it's really necessary. In this case- for me- it would be necessary if cutting it in two or radical bending were the plan.

1971BB427 02-07-2011 05:24 PM

Dangerous, crazy, and just not any good way to do it. If indeed you want to build it yourself, and save the stock spindles, then build a straight tube axle with ends machined to accept stock kingpins. That's the safe and proper way to do it.
Chopping off your kingpin area of the stock axle will be impossible to get an area large enough to fit inside a tube, and if it doesn't fit inside the tube it wont be strong. It would also be very difficult to keep the kingpins in alignment and if they're not perfectly aligned, and kicked back at the correct angle you'll end up with a truck that's impossible to keep straight going down the road.
You can buy a Speedway straight axle that already accepts the 55-59 Chevy truck hubs, drums, etc. for under $200, and then weld on perches and mount up your hardware.

isky1843 02-08-2011 07:06 AM

Thanks for the info and suggestions guys.

isky1843 02-08-2011 07:29 AM

@1971BB427- Can you post a link to this straight axle for under $200.00?

ericnova72 02-08-2011 08:12 AM


Originally Posted by isky1843
@1971BB427- Can you post a link to this straight axle for under $200.00?

Should be able to find it at in the street rod section. Last time I looked they were in the $250-300 range depending on length, for a version that fits 49-54 Car spindles, but I don't know if truck spindles are the same or not.

There is also a guy on Ebay selling blueprints if you want to machine you own ends and tube and do the welding. Tells you everything you need to know including kingpin angles and caster/camber specs. also has plans for sale.

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